04/13/04 — Annexing: Council should let residents know they are heard

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Annexing: Council should let residents know they are heard

It should not be surprising for a city to consider annexing a neighborhood along its borders when the neighborhood is as well developed as the one that Goldsboro officials now want to take in.

That area, along Salem Church Road and Buck Swamp Road, is perhaps the fastest growing community in Wayne County. Attractive, good-sized homes seem to be poofing into existence almost magically. It is only natural that city officials would look that way for a direction in which to grow.

Most people consider growth to be necessary so that a city is not confined indefinitely to its original borders. The only way it can grow is through annexation.

But annexation, when it is involuntary, is one of those government functions that sometimes seem antithetical to democracy, like the use of the power of eminent domain to get right-of-way for a road. A citizen wants to retain his land but a government decides that the common good outweighs individual rights.

Such power should be used most sparingly.

The residents of the Salem Church-Buck Swamp area have made it clear, notably at a public hearing last Monday night, that they do not want to be annexed. Members of the City Council will vote on the matter April 19. Whatever its decision, residents of the area need assurance that what they said was heard. Otherwise they will regard the hearing as a farce, just another step toward a move that the council knew all along it was going to take, and their anger will be intensified.

Published in Editorials on April 13, 2004 1:04 PM